Newcastle Falcons will battle it out with Brive for a place in the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals after both sides secured comfortable victories in Round 4 of the competition.
Brive did their bit on Thursday evening, running out 20-9 winners at home to Bucharest Wolves to put the pressure back onto the Falcons. But today, Dean Richards’ men kept their nerve to move top of Pool 3 on point’s difference with a 25-10 triumph at Cammi Rugby Calvisano.
The Tynesiders were in command from the word go with first half tries from Zach Kibirige and Rory Clegg giving the visitors a 17-point lead at the break. With the score poised at three apiece in the early exchanges by virtue of Phil Godman and Kelly Haimona penalties, teenager Kibirige crossed for a try following a 40-metre dash to the line. Godman increased the gap to 10-3 with a penalty moments later, before the Scottish fly-half was forced to hobble off and be replaced by Clegg. And it did not take long for Clegg to introduce himself to the action, crossing the whitewash just before the break to make it 17-3. A Clegg penalty on the stroke of half-time gave the northeasterners a healthy 20-3 lead at the interval.
Five minutes into the second period Kibirige bagged his brace for the afternoon, Clegg was unable to convert. In full control of affairs the Falcons looked good value for the scoreline, but to the Italians’ credit they demonstrated an air of resurgence to reduce the arrears thanks to a Kele Hehea try.
Despite the Falcons’ impressive display they were unable to unlock Calvisano’s rear-guard for the killer bonus-point try. However, the Kingston Park club are now in pole position to claim their place amongst the elite in the quarter-finals.
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Cammi Rugby Calvisano: Ben De Jager; Pablo Canavosio, Andy Vilk, Tommy Castello, Michele Visentin; Kelly Haimona, Marcello Violi; Andrea Lovotti, Luigi Ferraro, Salvatore Costanzo (c), Agustin Cavalieri, Luca Beccaris, Nicola Belardo, Stefano Scanferla, Braam Steyn
Replacements: Andrea Gavazzi, Luca Scarsini, Lorenzo Romano, Paino Hehea, Alessio Zdrilich, Paul Griffen, Alberto Chiesa, Alberto Bergamo
Newcastle Falcons: Noah Cato; Alex Tait, Alex Crockett, Adam Powell, Zach Kibirige; Phil Godman, Warren Fury; Rob Vickers, Scott Lawson, Scott Wilson, Sean Tomes, Fraser McKenzie, Will Welch (c), Andy Saull, Richard Mayhew
Replacements: George McGuigan, Grant Shiells, Kieran Brookes, Carlo del Fava, James Fitzpatrick, Chris Pilgrim, Rory Clegg, Ryan Shortland